Before gambling was legal in Florida, gambling had a strong presence for over 120 Floridians have been gambling, most often illegally. One of the very first illegal casinos within Florida was the Bacchus Club casino which opened in 1888 by Ponce de Leon in St. Augustine. The casino featured Roulette, Craps, & Bookie Boards right on the beach. Early in the 1920′s Tampa adopted a game from Cuba called Bolita which was very popular but also illegal. From there in 1924 a horse racing track was opened called Hialeah park which was also illegal but very popular as well.
Land Based Casinos
Since the legalization of gambling within the state, Florida earns around $2.2 billion annually from many different forms of gambling. parimutuel betting is permitted within the state and allows players who are 18 and over. The Florida State Lottery also allows players who are 18 and over players can find a lotto machine in just about every convenience store and atleast one poker room in each major county of the state.
Currently the state of Florida proudly advertises the state lottery on billboards and offers regional powerball lotteries. The state also offers three horse racing tracks with 22 large poker rooms and eight tribal gaming casinos where players are welcomed who are 21 and over. Within those casinos are over 4,000 slots games. However, the state of Florida seems to have it’s ups and downs when it comes to the legalization of gambling some officials within the state still feel gambling should not be legalized and have tried to overturn the legalization of the games. Typically in Florida casinos are based on tribal land only. For parimutuel betting such as dog & horse racing, the companies have to pay a 50% tax for all profits made throughout the year.
As with many other states Florida also allows online gambling. Since there are no state laws, players can revert back to the federal law. Players are often confused by the current federal law pertaining to online gambling which is often referred to as the UIGEA. This law prohibits banking institutions and credit card companies from processing online casino transactions. Players however, are not prohibited from making deposits and can use alternative methods to make deposits & request withdrawals. Several bills have been submitted in the beginning of 2011 which would allow the state of Florida to regulate and tax online casino transactions to generate more revenue for the state. The state would also be able to issue permits to those who would like to start their own online casino for a fee. These bills have been vetoed, new bills are in the works but are not on the table at this time.